Aug. 29, 2016

Ursula Neugebauer

2 – 14 September 2016

Mohsen Gallery is pleased to announce Bandage, a solo show with Ursula Neugebauer and the first comprehensive exhibition of works by a German artist to take place in Iran. Bandage brings together sculptural installations, drawings, and photographic works spanning over a decade of the artist’s oeuvre and three series of work: Chador (2006), Bondage (2011), and en face (2014). Neugebauer’s inquiry into the metamorphosis of everyday life and the way everyday objects inform memory, negotiating presence and absence, is thus presented to an Iranian audience. The female body is invoked in these works via its absence, calling on the viewer to imagine and reconstruct new meanings with that which has been left out.

In en face (2014), Neugebauer’s most recent series, the artist shows and humanizes the plight of sex workers on the Kurfürstenstrase in Berlin. Inviting these women to sit for portraits (“drawings” the artist composes with each subject’s hair), she momentarily removes them from the commoditizing and marginalizing gaze to which they are often subject. Her intention is to instead apply a more perceptive gaze that considers the face a metonym for the entire person. Neugebauer’s utilization of human hair renders these portraits as sorts of relics and suggests the idea of mortality.

Chador (2006) also treats the female body, in this case with a reference the Islamic veil. The installation consists of seven chadors hung so as to expose their red lining. The female body is thus figured as a provocation that must be concealed. Alternately, as Matthias Reichelt observes, the works might be read as “evok[ing] disemboweled animals, hanging in a slaughterhouse.” According to Reichelt, this ambivalence creates images that allow us to reflect on the body and sexuality in Islamic societies. This installation is part of a broader inquiry by the artist that addresses the relationship between religiously ordained clothing and the life of the body.

Neugebauer invites viewers to question the presumed links between the body and identity. For her, the body is caught in a dialectic of public and private, one that it will never fully resolve.

Ursula Neugebauer studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Münster in Germany, where she was recognized as a top student by Timm Ulrichs. She has worked as an educator and, at the Universitätklinikum, Münster, as an art therapist. From 1999 to 2002, she was a lecturer at the Department of Architecture at the Technical University, Berlin. Since 2003, she has held the title of Professor at the Institute of Art, Universität der Künste Berlin. Her recent exhibitions include: Licht (e) Wege, Kassel, Germany (2014); Connecting Sound Etc. Cable Works, Cable Sounds, Cables Everywhere, quartier21 and MuseumsQuartier Wien, Vienna, Austria (2014); and HAIR: Hair in art, Ludwiggalerie Schloss, Oberhausen, Germany (2013).